Siblings Talking With Tin Can

The Key to Your 2021 IT Services Game Plan

The long-awaited new year has finally arrived. As we all eagerly flipped our calendars and left 2020 behind, we have been planning ways to help our customers set themselves up for success in 2021.

To thrive in this new year, take a careful look at 2020’s changes and how they have impacted the way you communicate with team members, clients and partners. By reviewing your IT systems and capabilities, especially your phone systems and networks, you can find opportunities for cost savings. The right preparation can also set your organization up for success to face any challenges that might come your way this year.

At Affiliated Communications, we have helped many small- and medium-sized businesses throughout Texas meet the past year’s connectivity challenges. We’ve identified 5 key areas that we think you need to pay attention to as you plan for the next 12 months.

Revise your phone system strategy

Prior to 2020, a “standard” phone system was typically all a business needed. When the novel coronavirus pandemic began to rapidly spread around the globe, businesses suddenly found themselves scrambling to learn how to manage their remote workforces effectively. The standard phone system didn’t work for most businesses, and owners had to adapt to a remote-workforce-friendly communication system. Today’s telecommunication companies offer businesses a variety of options, such as landlines, VoIP solutions or virtual, with options to host equipment on-site or in the cloud. Both on-premise and cloud-based systems offer advantages, such as improved collaboration and mobile tools. However, the best solution depends on company goals. We want to help you select the right option to make sure your phone system can meet your needs and, in many cases, reduce your costs along the way.

Reimagine your contact center

The 2020 pandemic forced businesses to carefully examine their current contact center model. Those that had not already adapted to modern capabilities, such as AI automation and effective digital capabilities, found themselves significantly disadvantaged. As organizations begin to move forward past the pandemic, you need to make sure that your call center is ready and able to manage customer needs. Now, more than ever, customers have lost patience with poor customer service and experiences. Call centers and business phone systems are critical to providing superior service to remote customers. You must be ready to meet this challenge head on. At Affiliated Communications, we identify three key priorities, called the 3-Ds:

  • We work with brands to define your business objectives
  • We determine which technology platforms and services meet your internal requirements
  • We design a call flow that will allow you to answer these needs with customers

With our guidance, we’ll help you make the best IT decisions for your company and your customers.

Examine SD-WAN capabilities

SD-WAN provides businesses with a solution to many of the newly identified communications challenges. For example, businesses across the country have turned to teleconference options to maintain team contact, and SD-WAN can help manage the bandwidth needed. In fact, 65% of IT professionals say that COVID-19 has accelerated their need to look at the use of SD-WAN technology when it comes to managing a work-from-home workforce.

Even as businesses look forward to returning to their more “typical” business operations, a mobile workforce will likely remain intact. This shift has resulted in bringing SD-WAN and security into a single platform, creating SASE solutions. We expect a continuing trend towards using SD-WAN designed specifically for users from home offices.

Affiliated Communications can help you audit your network speeds and response times so that you gain a clear picture of your network. This objective assessment will help you find ways to improve your strategies at a cost savings to your organization.

Commit to the cloud

Even as the world looks forward to returning to more traditional ways of engaging with others, organizations will not soon forget the benefits they have experienced with cloud services. In just the first quarter of 2020, cloud spending rose by 37%. Over the year as a whole, spending on the cloud is also expected to increase by nearly a 5th, even as IT spending will likely decrease with the economic downturn.

Brands have begun to embrace the opportunity for scalable and remote options that cloud services offer them.

At Affiliated Communications, our clients experience cloud benefits that include:

  • SD-WAN
  • UCaaS
  • Disaster recovery
  • Tech support
  • Security
  • Business scalability
  • Microsoft Teams access

We recommend that businesses of all sizes carefully consider how they can use cloud capabilities to help their companies adapt.

Understand the how and why of IT outsourcing

The rapid shifts to the business world in 2020 show that adaptability has to be a critical part of success for any modern business. IT service providers have transitioned away from being mere hands to complete a task to more of a long-term partner that can be trusted with planning, risk prevention and overall protection of the company.

At Affiliated Communications, we can help you analyze your current spending and internal talent resources. We will also help you find and identify any gaps in your managed services and IT outsourcing options.

Let Affiliated Communications Help You

At Affiliated Communications, we want to help you embrace the tech opportunities and cost savings that 2021 can bring. Contact us today for a tech checkup to get a better picture of how well your unified communications setup and business phone systems will meet your needs in today’s rapidly changing business world.